Happy birthday to my son!

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Today is my boy’s 40th birthday! Yes, my son is 40 years old. Hard to believe. Just the other day he was this little red-haired rascal running around in Superman pajamas, playing with his Domino Rally, listening to Weird Al Yankovic. Well, he probably still listens to Weird Al. I won’t speculate on the Superman PJs.

Forty years ago, I was barely 19, and had very little idea what was going on in the real world. If there was such a thing as childbirth classes back in 1973, I didn’t know about them. No breathing lessons. And all that talk about labor pains, well, that wouldn’t be any big deal. I could deal with pain — or so I thought. During the 12 hours of hard labor accompanied by projectile vomiting, my teenaged self said, “This is ridiculous.” According to my mother, the labor and delivery nurse replied, “No, honey, this is labor.”

My own birthdays never have bothered me that much. That’s the truth. Maybe the thought that on my next one I’ll hit 60 makes me wince. But the realization that I have a 40-year-old child has been hard to accept. My little baby is 40! Wow!

I know you can’t say to parents of young children things like, “They’ll grow up before you know it,” but it’s true. Just one more time I’d like to see that little boy that was, and tuck him into bed in his Superman PJs. Better yet, I’d let him stay up a while and maybe we’d play with his Domino Rally, or he’d let me read him a book. But that’s not how it works. Your purpose is to guide them and let them grow, and give them love no matter if they’re 4 or 40.

In spite of that rocky night he was born, and in spite of me being young and having my own growing up to do as I tried to figure out motherhood, I think my boy turned out pretty well. I’m proud of the things he has accomplished and the man he is.

So happy birthday, Robert. I hope 40 is the best year for you yet!

(Notice I kept you incognito by using the Lyndon Johnson mask pic!)

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